Black Beauty

Year: 1994
David's Character: Jerry Barker
Director(s): Caroline Thompson
Other Stars: Sean Bean, John McEnery & Eleanor Bron
Pictures: Click here
Screen time: 20-30 minutes

This story was written by Anna Sewell and is told in the first person (or "first horse") as an autobiographical memoir told by a highbred horse named Black Beauty, beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. Along the way, he meets with many hardships and recounts many tales of cruelty and kindness. Each short chapter recounts an incident in Black Beauty's life containing a lesson or moral typically related to the kindness, sympathy, and understanding treatment of horses, with Sewell's detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the story a good deal of verisimilitude.

Black Beauty was not originally intended as a children's novel, but for people who work with horses. It soon, however, became a children's classic, a novel of education for generations of schoolchildren to the present day. While outwardly teaching animal welfare, it also contains allegorical lessons about how to treat people with kindness, sympathy and respect. Later student editions included further study questions, highlighting the moral theme of each chapter.